Stable Blanket Selection and Care
Cherry Hill ©
A winter stable blanket
should be comfortable for your horse and stay put. Since shifting often leads
to blanket damage, generally I prefer a blanket with leg straps, which help hold
a blanket in place. I also like a cut back wither, which prevents mane rubbing
and I prefer nylon lining which helps polish the hair coat rather than fleece
and flannel linings which tend to be hay, hair, and dirt magnets.
stable blanket must be tough enough to withstand a horse rolling and rubbing but
it doesn't need to have the weather proof qualities of a turnout blanket. A winter
stable blanket needs to be warm in temperatures from about -10 to 40F and not
cause sweating if it gets a bit warmer than that.
How heavy of a blanket you should
use on your horse will depend on your climate, the length of your horse's hair
coat, your horse's metabolism, activity level, type and amount of feed, and the
barn temperature and draftiness.
When talking about lightweight,
midweight and heavyweight blankets, the terms refer to the insulating quality
of the blanket, not the actual weight of the blanket. Often a heavyweight blanket
is very light in weight.
Some blankets fit certain breeds better than
Blankets will vary greatly in side length. Side length
is measurement from the middle of the center seam at the back down to the bottom
edge. A size 80 blanket should have at least a 36 inch side length but 38 inches
would be better.
Generally, stable blankets are made from two
pieces, one for each side of the horse. The two pieces are sewn together down
the midline and, in addition, there are usually darts over the hindquarters so
that the blanket fits the horse's contours.
When machine washing blankets, follow
the care instructions that came with the blanket or are attached to the blanket.
Most stable blankets can be machine washed on warm wash and cold rinse cycle if
you have a large front load washing machine or know of a Laundromat that allows
horse blankets to be washed there. Be wary of using a cold cycle as very cold
water won't properly activate most detergents or soaps (even those designed specifically
for "COLD" water) and cold water by itself does a poor job of cleaning.
Bleach should not be used. Most stable blankets should not be dry cleaned.
soap should be used to ensure that there is no residue left after rinsing. When
the wash cycle is complete, you can fluff the blanket in a dryer on LOW for about
5 minutes. Then hang the blankets on a blanket rack in a warm (50-60F) area. If
you hang them right side out for a few hours and then turn them inside out, they
should be ready to use in a day.
Nylon is a very
strong material made of coal, water, and air and spun into thread. It appears
in various forms in horse blankets.
nylon has a reinforcing gridwork made of heavier threads designed to stop tears.
nylon is a 420 denier nylon with a shiny finish.
is a fine fabric with a silky finish. It can be made of silk, cotton, nylon, or
Cordura is the registered trade
name for a durable, textured nylon cloth made by DuPont.
is a unit of weight for threads in material. The larger the denier number, the
heavier the material.
1000 Denier Cordura is
abrasion and tear resistant, and because of its tight weave, it is also water
Fiberfill is a general term for polyester
filling. Polyester filling can be made of solid core fibers or hollow core fibers.
Hollow fibers are lighter and trap more air for greater warmth.
is the registered trade name for a fiberfill product made by DuPont. It is comprise
of 100% Dacron polyester, hollow-core fibers.
means that the fiberfill product is thicker (loftier) when compared to an equal
weight of another fiberfill product.
OR CLOSED FRONT STABLE BLANKET?
to a closed front blanket is that it is more cumbersome to handle and you are
more likely to pick up dirt, snow or hair from the floor or ground or from the
horse's head or mane as you are slipping the blanket over his head. When you put
on any blanket, the horse should be clean and dry and you shouldn't let the blanket
touch the ground. I prefer blankets with buckle fronts for winter blankets.